Archive for the 'Space' Category

Jul 17

Joint Space Operations

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 1:12 PM


On 17 July 1975, the crews of the U.S. Apollo and Soviet Soyuz docked in space initiating the first manned space flight conducted jointly by the United States and Soviet Union. The primary purpose of the mission, the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, was to test the compatibility of rendezvous and docking systems for American and Soviet spacecraft and to open the way for international space rescue as well as future joint manned flights. It also symbolized a policy of détente that the two superpowers were pursuing at the time and marked the end of the Space Race between the two nations that began in 1957.


Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy exits the Quest airlock for a session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as work continues on the International Space Station.

Thirty eight years later, with the International Space Station (ISS), the US and other nations are still working together and conducting joint space missions. On 9 July 2013, two expedition astronauts, from NASA and the European Space Agency, wrapped up a successful 6-hour, 7-minute spacewalk, completing the first of two July excursions to prepare the ISS for a new Russian module and perform additional installations. The spacewalk was the 170th in support of station assembly and maintenance, totaling 1,073 hours, 50 minutes. To read more about the joint NASA spacewalk, click here.

Anchored to a Canadarm2 mobile foot restraint, Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano participates in a spacewalk as work continues on the International Space Station

Anchored to a Canadarm2 mobile foot restraint, Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano participates in a spacewalk as work continues on the International Space Station

However, despite vast improvements in technology and training, these professionals make such endeavors look routine – but they are anything but routine. This was apparent when U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy and Italy’s Luca Parmitano were less than an hour into a planned six-hour outing on 16 July 2013, when Parmitano reported what seemed to be water inside his helmet. NASA called off the spacewalk. See for more on this event.


May 5

First U. S. Manned Space Flight

Saturday, May 5, 2012 1:00 AM

May 5th, 1961

CDR Alan Shepard Jr. mans first U. S. space flight


Fifty-one years ago, the United States launched its first manned spacecraft, Freedom 7. The flight, which lasted almost fifteen-and-a-half minutes, marked a monumental step towards the U. S. space program’s goal of placing a man on the moon. In this, and many other acheivements made by the United States in space exploration, the Navy played an instrumental role, not only in supplying astronaughts to man spaceflights, but in aiding the launching and rescue of these flights as well. In January 1963, almost two years after Commander Shepard’s flight, Proceedings published an article by Captain Malcolm W. Cagle, about the Navy’s role in space. In his article, excerpted below, Captain Cagle speculated on the what the next ten years of space exploration would bring for the Navy, and described the new duties that would be placed upon the Navy, as well as future concerns for national defense as other nations began to join the space race.

Ten years hence, when the U. S. Naval Institute is a century old, what impact will rapidly accelerating space operations and technology have on the U. S. Navy? What can and should our Navy do in space? Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 19

Apollo 12 Moon Landing

Saturday, November 19, 2011 1:00 AM

November 19th, 1969

Navy astronauts become 3rd and 4th men to walk on the moon.

“The impact of man in space and man on the Moon has been felt in almost all segments of our society. The astronauts are in every sense explorers who have broadened the limits of mankind’s environment . . .”

On November 19th, 1969, CDR Charles Conrad Jr. and CDR Alan L. Bean became the third and fourth men to walk on the moon. Conrad and Bean were members of the all-Navy crew in the Apollo 12 mission, along with CDR Richard F. Gordon, Jr., the mission’s Command Module Pilot. In the October 1972 issue of Proceedings, Midshipman Second Class Raymon Paul Wiggers, Jr., U. S. Naval Reserve, described the Apollo 12 mission in an article about the Navy’s invaluable role in the United States Astronaut Corps. This detailed history examined the importance of Navy astronauts in the success of NASA’s missions, and speculated on the fate of the space program following the acheivements of the Apollo lunar missions.

 In the exploration of a world consisting of island continents surrounded by vast oceans, it is not difficult to understand why explorers have often been men of the sea. Throughout history, the great seafaring nations, using their navies and maritime fleets, have predominated in the great discoveries. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 14

Apollo 12: All-Navy Crew

Sunday, November 14, 2010 12:01 PM

Apollo 12 was the second manned mission to the moon and the only one that boasted an all-Navy crew of Comdr. Charles “Pete” Conrad, Comdr. Richard F. “Dick” Gordon, and Comdr. Alan L. Bean.

Apollo 12 lifted off on 14 November and on 19 November Conrad and Bean became the third and fourth humans to walk on the moon.

The crew of Apollo 12 boated many accomplishments, including: the first precision manual moon landing; the first time the pilot maneuvered the Command Module into a different orbiting trajectory, a requirement for future missions; an extended visit to the lunar service–almost three times as long as Apollo 11–including two separate moonwalks and recovery of equipment from an earlier unmanned probe; and finally, the first deployment of an automated scientific analysis package, which remained operational for eight years and provided a wealth of information.

The excellent performance of the spacecraft, the crew, and the support personnel ranked this “all-Navy” mission as one of the most successful in NASA history.